HAMPSHIRE'S chief fire officer will be stepping down from his role after a decade in the top job.

John Bonney has announced he will retire from Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service at the end of this year after spending 13 years working with the organisation.

Mr Bonney said it was a “privilege” to work with and lead the 1,800 staff who make up the organisation.

He said: “2014 marks my tenth year as chief officer, and having served at the helm for a decade, I've decided it is now timely for me to step down from what is, by any measure, the best job in the British fire service.

“I am proud to have led a service populated throughout by people absolutely dedicated to what we do and who, as a matter of routine, go far beyond what is asked of them.

“You have inspired me and for 10 years made me the most privileged chief officer anywhere in the country, and can I thank each of you for that.”

Hampshire Fire Authority said a successor to Mr Bonney will be found over the course of the rest of the year.